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761 Foundation founded to better serve students

In the early 1990s, Minnesota was changing the way it allocated funds to schools and, locally, there was a belief that the creation of a foundation, independent of the district and school board, would better serve students attending Owatonna Public Schools.


Dick Fish was superintendent of schools and at that time, the school district held more than $50,000 in various funds (Harp Fund, Hammann Fund, Kindergarten Fund, etc.) to support activities within the school district.


So begins our story.


When incorporated as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization in 1993, the 761 Foundation began with assets of $55,000. Today, total assets are approaching $3.5 million


Since its inception, the 761 Foundation has awarded nearly $1.4 million in scholarships to local students who excelled in high school and needed financial assistance for their post-secondary studies. While most are awarded to graduates of Owatonna High School, one scholarship is available to a graduating senior in Steele County planning to study agribusiness.


In addition, the Foundation has awarded more than $1.7 million in grants to Owatonna Public Schools teachers and principals for programs and activities that enhance educational opportunities for all students.

Key dates

  • 1992:  First meeting - original board members included: Todd Hale, chairman, George Dow, Greg Stroik, Eldon Steuernagel, Odell Knutson (class of ‘39), Pat Greenwood, Ardie Allen, Mary Larson (class of ’54), and Judy Strunc.

  • 1993:  Incorporated as a 501 (c) (3) tax exempt organization

  • 1994:  First of the Robert Chladek estate funds received

  • 1995-96:  First grants awarded

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